Expensive ≠ Overpriced

money-to-burn-candle1. This is a story about some of the most expensive advice I ever received.
2. Expensive is not the same thing as overpriced.

In 2010 I hired a well known leadership coach at a cost of thousands. As did my wife. We were both feeling quite well about our lives and respective careers but we knew we had so much more we could still learn, achieve and contribute to others as well.

At the beginning of this process, I spent hours answering questions about my personality, my communication style and my biggest goals as well as my fears. And in return, I received one of the most sobering psychological profiles in the form a 50+ page deck; what Elvis Costello would call a Deep Dark Truthful Mirror. 

In my very first meeting with Gary, we went through the tomb together while he asked me very skilled questions as only a good listener can. I remember how positive it all seemed. And I remember repeatedly telling him how much I loved my work and how satisfying it was to me. I truly did love it; loved both the challenges as much as the reward. And I appreciated all the support I received from my family and friends given the commitment and time this career required.

Then about forty-five minutes into this first session, Gary stopped me. He said, “I’ve heard you say how much you love your job and how much you appreciate all the people in your life for their support several times. And I think that’s wonderful, I do. But I suggest you make one small switch. You need to ‘appreciate your job’ and ‘love the people’ in your life. A job will never love you back. Be careful with your words, they have great power.”

I don’t think I’ve been hit so hard and hugged at the same time in my entire life.

I worked with Gary for that entire year with great success but he earned every cent of his fees and every ounce of my respect in those first forty-five minutes. Today, it’s still one of the best and most expensive lessons I’ve ever been taught.

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